Life Divine Chapter I & II (Dec 1996) - Track 103

Now we come to what I call a synthetic view of all these debate right from the beginning to the present.  What ultimately do we arrive at after all this debate, what does it all amount to? Now first minimum thing that arises out of all that we have seen is that although all knowledge belongs to the domain of Science there are still some questions which are still unanswered by science therefore there must be a field where these questions which remain unanswered by Science therefore there must be a field where these questions which remain unanswered should be at least reflected upon, not with the intention of answering them but at least to mark out the questions. So the minimum programme of Philosophy would be to raise those questions which are not raised in any sciences or if they are raised they are never attempted to be considered or reflected upon. Therefore according to some people philosophy has one place, a small margin where you can raise certain questions which are not raised anywhere else. Some people say that philosophy is a no-man’s land; it’s a legal term which you know very well, it’s a no-man’s land. It does not belong to the field of science, it does not belong to a field which is empty, unoccupied, but it is a field where anybody can come and put question marks. So it is said that the philosophy although it is impossible in its ultimate search, goal, it still has got a legitimate place where one can raise questions knowing well that answers will not be available but it is good to raise questions and to be happy with raising those questions. This is the view which very many people are inclined to agree to in the world of today. So according to them although all knowledge to be knowledge must be scientific, since science cannot answer all the questions there must be a domain where you can raise those questions, where you can reflect upon them to the best of your ability knowing full well that these questions will never be answered. So this is one over-all summing up of all this.

The second is that although it is true that the knowledge of all the sciences will never be complete, still there is method by which the gaps of knowledge can be filled by a very special method, which is called philosophical method, not scientific method by observation, experimentation so on. But according to this view philosophy has a legitimate process where the gaps which are left by the scientific data can be filled by a rigorous process of speculation, not speculation in an ordinary way but by a rigorous process of speculation. Just as in law as you know when you want to prove a certain point and certain data are not available at all, evidence is not sufficiently available to prove any particular point then you adopt the method of speculation. When data are not available you speculate but speculate vigorously. You don’t speculate like a poet where you are free to speculate anything. A rose may become a book and a book may become a brook, in poetry speculation is free. But in Law speculation has to be rigorous. There has to be rigorous system of speculation. Similarly in philosophy too it is argued that your speculation must be logical. So it is argued that by logical speculation you can fill up the gaps and therefore you can have comprehensive answers by method of rigorous speculation; so this again establishes field of philosophy.

Finally it may be argued that the question as to what should I do? It is argued it can be answered thoroughly if I combine both these methods, raising questions and by rigorous speculation; if you combine these two together then even the question what should I do, can be answered. Therefore the conclusion is now that philosophy has a legitimate field, it has a legitimate method and therefore a legitimate expectation to arrive at conclusions and that is the field of Philosophy as distinguished from Science. In other words it may be said that philosophy first of all raises those questions which sciences do not raise, like ultimate how and ultimate why and ultimate what? These three questions none of the sciences raise therefore philosophy has one domain to raise the question what is ultimately real, what is the rationale of all that exists and why these things in this world happen as they do in the ultimate analysis. These three questions, which none of the sciences raises have to be raised and that raising these questions is considered to be the domain of Philosophy.  

Secondly in answering these questions you can bring the help of all the scientific knowledge with all the present gaps. But if you follow the method of rigorous speculation, logical speculation then you can fill up the gaps and you can answer these three questions and when you answer these three questions, the third question; what should I do, will also be answered. Therefore the domain of Philosophy is clearly defined before us. Raising the questions what is ultimately true, how does the world which we see really operate and why should it operate in the way in which it operates. These three questions are fundamental questions of Philosophy. Secondly Philosophy in answering these three questions will take help of all the scientific data and try to bridge the gaps by a rigorous method of speculation and in doing so it will also answer the third question, what shall I do? This is the field of Philosophy.

Now having seen it, we open this book and ask: what is the method that Sri Aurobindo has followed in this entire book. He has raised these three questions basically. What is ultimately true or real, what is the intrinsic reason of things as they are and what are the intrinsic processes by which the world is operating; three main questions that Sri Aurobindo raises in this book. In doing so Sri Aurobindo brings together all the possible data. Data of the field of Matter, data of the field of Life, the data of the field of the Mind, the data of the field of the Spirit and then puts them all together and wherever there are gaps by the process of the rigorous speculation, he bridges them and in doing so the basic question that arises mostly in our mind: what should I do, why am I here, that question is also raised and answered.